Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2015: Data to Drive Decisions

from Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Foundation Center
Published on 13 Nov 2015 View Original

Executive Summary

Jointly produced by Foundation Center and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2015: Data to Drive Decisions analyzes funding trends for disasters and humanitarian crises in 2013. In addition to examining U.S. foundation funding, this second annual report integrates other disaster-related funding data, including bilateral and multilateral aid, corporate giving, and online giving, to paint a more detailed picture of how institutional philanthropy is situated within the broader disaster funding landscape.

This year’s report lives online at The Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy Dashboard allows funders, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders to interact with the 2013 data and home in on their specific areas of interest. Visitors to the dashboard can view giving from multiple data sources and filter the information by disaster type, disaster assistance strategy, and geographic area.

While the dashboard presents aggregated data on disasterrelated giving, users can view the Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy Mapping Platform for more granular information from each of these data sources. The mapping platform features data from 2011 to the present and allows users to drill down to grant- and project-level information.

Key findings from our 2013 analysis include the following:

• Looking across seven data sources, we documented $27.6 billion for disasters and humanitarian crises. This figure is not comprehensive, but it provides a starting point for understanding the scale of global disaster-related philanthropy.

• Grants awarded by the top 1,000 U.S. foundations totaled $116.9 million. In addition, a review of Foundation Center’s broader database identified an additional $60.1 million in funding by smaller foundations, public charities, and international foundations.

• Storms drew the most investments from U.S. foundations (46 percent of all funding) and the largest proportion of giving was for response and relief (42 percent), while 19 percent of funding targeted reconstruction and recovery efforts.

• As with most issue areas, government donors provided the largest sources of aid. Indeed, FEMA alone distributed more than $11 billion in grants and assistance in 2013.

• Outside of the U.S., aid from the 29 members of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) totaled $13.6 billion, while non-DAC donors and multilateral organizations accounted for at least another $2.3 billion.

• Although reliable estimates for corporate giving are hard to come by, available data show corporations donated at least $179 million to disasters and humanitarian crises.

• Totals for both online and individual giving are also difficult to determine. We obtained data from two online platforms for illustrative purposes. Network for Good collected $27.5 million for disasters, mostly from individual donors, averaging $104 per donor. GlobalGiving raised another $3.6 million, representing a mix of individual and organizational donors.

• Across data sources, the majority of funding targeted relief efforts. It is more challenging to parse out the flow of dollars for preparedness and long-term recovery efforts, given the lack of clear, high-quality information from donors for these disaster assistance strategies. Better data about assistance strategies can help donors and practitioners alike understand the extent to which investments are addressing the full life cycle of disasters.

Collectively, this report, along with the dashboard and mapping platform, provides donors, practitioners, and other stakeholders with in-depth information on funding flows for disasters and humanitarian crises. In the coming years, Foundation Center and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy will work with a host of partners to make these tools more robust. Over time, we expect to improve the quality and quantity of funding data and to work with field partners to use these tools to inform strategic decision making and, ultimately, to increase the effectiveness of disaster-related giving.

To get involved with these efforts, visit for additional information.